Educational action research as the quest for virtue in teaching

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Curriculum aims often remain unrealised aspirations. This is because the values and principles implicit in them fail to get articulated in forms that can effectively inform and guide the practice of teaching. Ideas such as ‘learner-centred education’, ‘independent/autonomous learning’, ‘self-directed learning', ‘enquiry/discovery learning’, ‘collaborative learning’, ‘active learning’ and ‘learning with understanding’ refer to critical aspects of the learning process rather than its outcomes.
While often enthusiastically embraced by teachers, they rarely get realised in appropriate forms of virtuous action. Such is the power of an outcomes-based model of teaching and learning to shape the practice of teaching. This paper cites examples of curriculum design that specify the pedagogical values and principles implicit in various educational aims, and shows how they can provide a basis for practical experiments by teachers in their classrooms and schools, in a quest to transform their teaching into concrete forms of virtuous action. Indeed, the paper depicts a number of actual action research projects in which teachers generated some common insights into how to transform their teaching into the practice of virtue in education. It also explores the role of theory-informed action research in developing teaching as a virtuous form of action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-21
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number1
Early online date10 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • virtue
  • teaching
  • self-study

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